NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) Overview and Trends (2)

Test items for occupant protection in the event of a collision and automatic emergency braking (AEB)



  Initially, the evaluation items of the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) mainly focused on occupant protection performance in collision tests in the U.S., but as other NCAPs were launched, the contents gradually expanded to include evaluations for child protection and pedestrian protection. In addition, instances of the evaluation of advanced technologies such as the protection of vulnerable road users through automatic emergency braking (AEB) as well as recommended safety devices have increased, and many NCAPs now give a comprehensive evaluation by weighting each of these items.


 The previous report on NCAP, with the cooperation of Kazuo Higuchi, provided commentary on the characteristics of the various NCAPs, their issues, and future trends as represented by Euro NCAP’s “Roadmap 2025.” Part 2 will explain the details of NCAP test methods, including new items such as for AEB, as well as the implementation status of each program.


Related reports:
NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) Overview and Trends (1) (Jun. 2020)
2020 AV/ADAS Safety Standards & Regulations Roundup (May 2020)
NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) Overview and Trends (Dec. 2017)


Frontal collision occupant protection

  Generally, two types of testing methods have been implemented for frontal collision occupant protection: flat barrier collision and offset collision. Frontal collisions are the most common form of accident to result in the death of occupants. Flat barrier collision tests recreate the harshest forms of collisions for occupants in frontal collisions, and have been used as a testing method for years. However, in the real world, the most common form of collision is offset collisions, and in order for automakers to achieve high scores on offset collision testing, vehicles must be reinforced and the passenger compartments designed in a way to reduce deformation.

フラットバリア衝突 オフセット衝突
Flat barrier collision
(Source: ANCAP)
Offset collision
(source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)

  Since offset collision testing became general practice in NCAPs in the 1990s, automobiles have been made steadily harder materials. As a result, as vehicle deceleration rates have increased in flat barrier collision testing, resulting in more difficulty in occupant protection. This is turn requires an increase in performance in occupant protection devices such as seatbelts and airbags in order to achieve favorable results. By conducting both flat barrier collision and offset collision testing, vehicles and occupant protection devices can be improved simultaneously.


Frontal full lap collision


  Collision speeds vary greatly, with U.S. NCAP (U.S.), KNCAP (Korea) at 56 km, JNCAP (Japan) at 55 km, and Euro NCAP (Europe), ANCAP (Australia), and CNCAP (China) at 50 km. While test dummies are often Hybrid III 50%, Euro NCAP and KNCAP use a female 5% dummy in both front seats while U.S. NCAP and JNCAP use a female 5% in the passenger’s seat. Moreover, Euro NCAP, CNCAP, and KNCAP use a female 5% in the rear seat as well as child dummies under different conditions. Each NCAP’s testing conditions are as follows


(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)


Frontal offset collision

  All NCAPs set collision speeds for frontal offset collision testing at 64 km/h, and with the exclusion of IIHS’s Narrow Offset at 25%, most programs set overlap amounts at 40% on the driver’s side. JNCAP and A/ASEAN NCAP, which tests right-hand-drive vehicles, set test vehicles to collide on the right side of the vehicle. Only IIHS’s Narrow Offset tests both sides of the vehicle.

  All NCAPs use a Hybrid III 50% dummy in the front seat, but JNCAP and IIHS only use one of these dummies in the driver’s seat, whereas all other NCAPs use them in both front seats. JNCAP and CNCAP use a Female 5% dummy for the rear seats, while Euro NCAP, KNCAP, A/ASEAN NCAP, and Latin NCAP use child dummies.

  As mentioned earlier, starting in 2020, Euro NCAP and ANCAP have changed their offset collision testing to use a Mobile Progressive Deformable Barrier (MPDB), and advanced THOR dummies are used. Each NCAP’s testing conditions are as follows.


(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)


MPDB (Mobile Progressive Deformable Barrier) collision testing

  In recent years, to recreate and test situations using both seatbelts and airbags where occupants would be injured, the NHTSA began using Moving Deformable Barriers (MDBs) to create more authentic vehicle-on-vehicle collisions. It has been studying testing methods where test vehicles and a moving vehicle would collide into each other.

  Euro NCAP has changed this testing method, replacing the MDB with MPDB. This testing method will replace conventional offset barrier collision testing starting in 2020. In this test, a test vehicle, shown in the image on the left, and a moving barrier with an energy absorbent attached to the front are rammed into each other in an offset collision. In comparison to standard offset barrier collision testing, the MDB moves upon impact, showing different movements and deformation from the test vehicle, allowing testers to observe different injury modes than previously possible.

MDBを使用するオフセット衝突テスト MDB衝突テスト
Offset collision testing using MPDB (Source: Euro NCAP) MPDB collision testing (Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)

Side collision occupant protection

  Following frontal collisions, side collisions are the second most fatal form of collision for occupants, and have the highest ratio of deaths to accidents, making them extremely dangerous. Side collisions are tested using MDB impact testing (right image) that simulates automobile-on-automobile collisions, as well as with pole side impact testing, which simulatse situations where a single vehicle slides and hits a tree.

MDB側面衝突テスト ポール側面衝突テスト
MDB side impact testing (Source: IIHS) Pole side impact test (Source: Euro NCAP)

  There are two types of MDB side impact testing: one where the colliding vehicle is a standard passenger vehicle, and one where the colliding vehicle is a more dangerous large-size SUV. When compared to frontal collisions, vehicles have a smaller area where the energy of side collisions can be absorbed, and it is more technically challenging to protect occupants. As a result, collision test conditions were set lower than real-world needs, but as technology advanced, testing conditions have been revised, with more tests increasing collision speeds and MDB weight.

Far Side Occupantの傷害を評価するテスト
Far side occupant injury evaluation testing
(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)

  While conventional side collision testing evaluated injuries to the near side occupant, testing for far side occupant injuries has recently begun. This testing is conducted by placing the test vehicle on a sled, seating a dummy on the near and far side of the collision, and testing impacts recorded in the MDB collision, as well as a test that applies a pole impact to the testing vehicle. The possibility of injury is evaluated by measuring the amount of dummy movement.

MDB side impact testing

  The U.S. NCAP has a collision angle of 27 degrees diagonally forward, while all other NCAPs test at 90 degrees. JNCAP and KNCAP set their collision speeds at 55 km/h, while the U.S. NCAP sets its collision speed at 62 km/h (55 km/h in terms of 90 degrees), and Euro NCAP and ANCAP have increased their speeds to 60 km/h and MDB weight to 1400 kg in 2020. Other NCAPs test at 50 km/h. Latin NCAP also introduced MDB side impact testing, and its collision speed is set to 50 km/h.

  MDB weight for U.S. NCAP is set at 1365 kg with a standard passenger vehicle type, while IIHS uses an SUV-type MDB which is taller and heavier at 1500 kg. JNCAP and KNCAP use a revised 1300 kg passenger vehicle type MDB. Other NCAPs use the 950 kg passenger vehicle type utilized by Euro NCAP until 2014.

 Euro NCAP and KNCAP were first to use the new World SID dummy in the front seats, but JNCAP and CNCAP also began using World SID dummies as well. The IIHS uses SID IIS and the Euro SID 2 (U.S. NCAP uses the revised model). For the rear seats, U.S. NCAP, IIHS, and CNCAP use SID IIS dummies, while Euro NCAP uses child dummies.

  ASEAN NCAP has also added MDB side impact testing. Each NCAP’s testing conditions are as follows.


(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)


Pole side impact test

  Pole side impact testing had only been conducted by the U.S. NCAP, Euro NCAP, KNCAP, and ANCAP, but Latin NCAP has added it as well. This test was based on the U.S. NCAP method, which was carried out at an angle of 75 degrees diagonally forward and at a collision speed of 32 km/h, while the other NCAPs had a speed of 29 km/h and a collision angle of 90 degrees. From 2015, Euro NCAP and KNCAP switched their testing methods to follow the U.S. NCAP method.

  The U.S. NCAP uses SID IIS dummies while ANCAP and Latin NCAP use Euro SID 2, and Euro NCAP and KNCAP use World SID, resulting in different dummies being used in each NCAP. ANCAP also changed its testing conditions to match Euro NCAP’s older standards. Each NCAP’s testing conditions are as follows.


(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)


Far side impact

Far Side側面衝突
Far Side impact testing
(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)

  Euro NCAP and ANCAP will introduce far side impact testing from 2020.


Rear collisions, rollover

  In frontal collision, side collision, and rear collision tests, occupant protection is evaluated by the occupant's injury value measured by a dummy, but there is no effective collision testing method for rollovers, which evaluate the difficulty of a vehicle to roll over, estimated from vehicle size and the height of the center of gravity.

Rear collision occupant protection

  While rear collisions have fewer fatalities, medical expenses covered by insurance for whiplash are very high, and insurance companies have historically considered it a problem. Unlike frontal and side collision testing, which evaluate by actually colliding vehicles, rear collision testing evaluates the dynamics of the head restraint geometry (distance between the height of the head restraint and the back of the head) and dynamic performance using a sled test with a seated dummy. While in the past this test only evaluated the front seats, testing for rear occupants has begun in recent years.

  IIHS measures the height of the head restraint and the distance (backset) to the back of the occupant's head, and if deemed appropriate, models will undergo a dynamic sled test (speed change of 10 mph) using a rear impact evaluation dummy (Bio RID II) for evaluation.

  Other programs that evaluate rear collision protection are Euro NCAP, JNCAP, KNCAP, ANCAP, and CNCAP. While all of these programs use the Bio RID II dummy, they all have different impact levels (speed changes) in their sled tests, with Euro NCAP and ANCAP at 24.5 km/h, JNCAP and CNCAP at 20 km/h, and KNCAP at 16 km/h.


  The NHTSA commissioned research institutions to develop a test method to evaluate dynamic collisions similar to other collision modes. Research progressed considerably, but there is still no established dummy suitable for rollover testing, nor is there an established rollover-specific injury value. Currently, rollover safety is evaluated by static rollover resistance (height of the center of gravity and the geometric relationship with tread and stability in emergency avoidance operation) and roof strength.

Child protection

  Child seat performance should be evaluated in combination with automobiles, but it is impossible to evaluate all combinations of child seats and automobiles. To address this, Euro NCAP recommends several child seats to automakers, with the automakers choosing one from the recommended products for use in frontal and side impact testing. JNCAP does not consider the combination of child seats and automobiles, and instead evaluates the basic performance of child seats through dynamic sled testing. Additionally, JNCAP not only conducts dynamic testing, but also performs static tests to evaluate the attachability of child seats in automobiles.

Pedestrian protection: Body form impact tests, pedestrian automatic emergency braking

Body form

Frontal impact testing using body forms
(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)

  Pedestrian collision patterns vary greatly, making it incredibly difficult to recreate these collisions in real-vehicle collisions. Therefore, pedestrian collision safety has been evaluated by impact tests on the front of the vehicle body using body forms (head, upper legs, lower legs, etc.) to generally evaluate the impact-mitigation performance when a pedestrian collides with an automobile.

  The method of impacting a large area of the hood with a head form and evaluating its energy absorption was first used by Euro NCAP, and was later adopted by JNCAP, ANCAP, KNCAP, Latin NCAP, and CNCAP. Initially, there was only a head form test to assess head injuries, but tests using leg forms to assess hip and leg injuries were also added later. Currently, Euro NCAP, ANCAP, Latin NCAP, and KNCAP are testing heads (adults and children), legs, and upper legs, while JNCAP and CNCAP test heads (adults and children) and legs.


Pedestrian automatic emergency braking

  There is a limit to the effect of vehicle-side impact reduction measures using body forms in situations where there is an overwhelming difference in mass, as with human bodies and automobiles, and in recent years, pedestrian dummies have been used to test automatic braking as well as dynamic performance tests for reducing impact velocity.

  This dynamic test uses pedestrian (adults and children) dummies as well as cyclist dummies. A typical test evaluates whether an automobile can avoid a collision or mitigate damage to a pedestrian who jumps out in front of the automobile and crosses in front of the test vehicle.

  This test also examines situations when an adult pedestrian emerges from the driver's side (far side adult), passenger side (near side adult), and when children jump out from behind obstacles (such as parked vehicles) on the passenger side (Car-to-Pedestrian Nearside Child) (bottom left figure).

  Additional tests held include automobile brake performance tests for pedestrians walking ahead of vehicles parallel to the vehicle's direction of travel (car to pedestrian longitudinal adult), situations where there is a pedestrian crossing in front of the test vehicle that is turning left or right 'car-to-pedestrian turning adult), and where a pedestrian crosses behind an automobile while reversing (car-to-pedestrian reverse near side & stationary adult).

  Testing for cyclists will also be added, and will test the same items as for pedestrians: testing situations when a bicycle crosses in front of a moving test vehicle to see if the vehicle can either avoid collisions or reduce damage. Both far side and near side cases (Car to Bicyclist Near Side & Far Side) (bottom right image) and car-to-bicyclist longitudinal adult are also tested.

子供が助手席側の障害物の影から飛び出してくるケース 自転車が助手席側から出てくるケース
Situation where a child jumps out on the passenger seat side from behind an obstacle Situation where a bicycle appears from the passenger seat side

(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)

  Evaluation testing for automatic emergency braking to help prevent collisions with pedestrians is conducted by Euro NCAP and ANCAP. Bicycles have also been added to the tests and adopted by ANCAP, but JNCAP, IIHS, and CNCAP only test for pedestrian protection.


Vehicle-to-vehicle automatic emergency brakes (Automatic Emergency Brake: AEB)

CCRs Automatic braking performance test for vehicles approaching from behind
(Source: Created from materials from NCAP and other sources)

  Regarding automatic braking performance, in addition to the protection of pedestrians and cyclists, there is also automobile-to-automobile collision prevention, and test content has expanded rapidly in recent years. At present, the following four test methods are used.

1) CCRs (Car to Car Rear Stationary): Evaluates up to what speed automatic braking of a vehicle approaching a stationary vehicle from the rear is effective (figure below)

2) CCRm (Car to Car Rear Moving): Braking performance when a vehicle approaches a vehicle ahead at a faster speed than the forward vehicle

3) CCRb (Car to Car Rear Braking): Braking performance of a vehicle when a vehicle in front of it, moving at the same speed, brakes

4) CCFTP (Car to Car Front turn across path): When a test vehicle turns left (driving on the right side) right in front of oncoming traffic


  Under these circumstances, Euro NCAP also requires tests that vary the lateral relative position of the test vehicle and the target vehicle, or in other words, the amount of offset.

  Vehicle-to-vehicle automatic emergency braking testing was popularized with Euro NCAP and was later adopted by ANCAP, but IIHS, which started this testing program at the same time as Euro NCAP, carries out only CCRs because it believes it can sufficiently evaluate the performance in tests using stationary vehicles. JNCAP tests CCRs and CCRm, and CNCAP tests CCRs, CCRm, and CCRb.


Rescue and extrication (Rescue and Extrication)

  In addition to accident prevention and accident damage mitigation, in recent years, post-accident rescue and extrication has also been evaluated. Euro NCAP evaluates the following items:

1) Rescue Information: The submission of an information sheet (Rescue Sheet (ISO 17840 part 1)) to related authorities (such as the fire department), detailing essential information of the automobile when performing rescues, such as information on electrical systems, explosives, the location and properties of special metals, and the location of the fuel tank.

2) Extrication: Automatic Door Locking (ADL). At certain speeds, the doors lock automatically, and unlock automatically for extrication in the event of an accident. Additionally, the evaluation of the amount of force required to open the doors and the opening force of the seatbelt buckle after an accident.

3) Automatic accident reporting and multi collision brakes (MCB). The vehicle automatically brakes to prevent the vehicle from moving after an accident.

  Euro NCAP and ANCAP will begin evaluating these items in 2020.


Advanced accident prevention technologies

  In addition to the aforementioned technologies, in order to promote advanced safety technologies, many NCAPs award points to vehicles with other advanced safety equipment that greatly improve vehicle safety. Currently, points are rewarded to AEBs, seatbelt reminders, lane support systems (LSS), speed assist systems (SAS), electric stability control (ESC), rearview information, and high-performance headlights There are major differences in evaluation items depending on the NCAP.

NCAP, IIHS, NHTSA, USA, EU, Japan, China, Australia, South Korea, China, South America, ASEAN, Safety, ADAS, Pedestrian Protection, Brake, AEB, Seat, Child Seat, Seatbelt, Seat Belt Reminder, Airbag, Headrest, Lane Keeping, Speed Limiter, Sensor, ESC, Dummy, THOR, MDB, MPDB

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